Essential Horse Show Checklist

It’s show season! Time to pack up the trailer and hit the road for your next competition. You’ve already been working with your horse to make sure you’re both physically up to the task so your main concern now is not so much how you’ll do, but if you’ll have everything you need to enter. Horse shows have strict guidelines, so this list will help you be prepared and ready to ride when it’s your turn.

First, there is the entry fee and then all the paperwork. Officials will want to see that you’ve filled out all the correct forms and have all the proof that you and your horse are eligible for the competition. Some of this may be done ahead of time or online, but it’s always best to have them with you just in case there was a glitch in the registration process.

  • Horse registration papers
  • Proof of health and permits
  • Association membership papers (where applicable)
  • Proof of negative Coggins for Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA, or swamp fever)

Because looks are important, make sure you’ve got your grooming kit stocked, and you should always travel with a first aid kit to take care of any minor scrapes or other health issues.


  • Brushes
  • Hoof pick
  • Hoof polish
  • Coat conditioner
  • Braiding kit
  • Fly repellent
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First Aid:

  • Disinfectant
  • Antiseptic swabs
  • Wound care
  • Bandages and wraps
  • Scissors
  • Thermometer
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Necessary tack and clothing will likely depend on the discipline you’ll be showing, but there are some universal basics.


  • Halter and lead
  • Bridle
  • Reins
  • Saddle, pad, girth
  • Stirrup leathers
  • Boots
  • Moisture-wicking sheet
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  • Boots
  • Breeches
  • Helmet
  • Hair accessories
  • Shirt(s)
  • Stock pin
  • Jacket
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Don’t forget to adhere your number to the appropriate part of your attire. It’s how the judges identify you.

Before you set out, make sure your trailer is stocked with the necessary items to keep your horse comfortable on the trip there and back. And because you’ll have a lot of standing-around time at the event itself, there are some other things you’ll be glad you brought:

  • Feed
  • Buckets
  • Treats (for your horse and for yourself)
  • Trailer ties
  • Folding chair
  • Aspirin
  • Sunscreen
  • Cash
  • Published:
  • Updated: 5/1/2018: 9:03:44 AM ET
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